The Path Of Least Resistance
So I was doing some research for a song. You know when a notion or a statement comes to you and you think ‘how do I know that? Do I actually know that? Where did that come from?’ I find that I learn a lot just probing dormant or floating thoughts that bring themselves to the fore when writing. That must be like the overflow (I actually think of it more in terms of ‘oozing’- too much gruesome sci-fi, methinks) from the hidden storehouse of our unused 90% brain power. Is that the same as intuition? Life is so amazing.
So anyway, I was looking into a theme that fascinates me greatly; Water. Rivers, Lakes, Oceans. Water bodies in general. I have always been somewhat comforted and enthralled by the flow and/or stillness of water. It is like a dance sometimes. And there are few things I would rather do than go for a refreshing swim. Saying that, I also have a healthy fear/respect for water as well, having almost drowned twice when I was young. Then there are the hidden dark things (as well as wonders), in the depths. And we all see/hear about the devastation of floods, tsunamis etc. But I also find rivers and oceans hold many beautiful truths for life. Reflection, beauty, sound, cleansing, movement, depth, light, shadow, contradiction, and so much more.
I have been pondering and working with Acceptance. A deep acceptance of life and self to the point of obviating all other frustrations and distractions of circumstance, ambition and expectation. The kind of acceptance that allows one to really live in the moment and have peace of mind. Less energy being wasted on negative feelings or directions that are not worthwhile. Acceptance of the things you have accomplished and not. Acceptance of those who value you and not. Acceptance of what you really think and feel about A or B. An honest look at your present state – limitations and all – and say. “This is where I am, and I am okay with that.”
This acceptance allows me to hit a road block and after pushing and trying to get round it with no luck, I can lean my leg against the block and do some long-overdue stretches that leave me feeling like I’m floating and I can say “That was so good. Tomorrow will be even better.”
Kind of like the phrase ‘going with the flow’ but more than that. This is not an invitation to slack. It is an opportunity to unclog life pathway from unnecessary pressures, ire and dissatisfaction that come with our journey. True acceptance deals with that. The hurt will still come, the doubts and challenges will still come but without that overhanging cloud. They can’t get that far inside.
We know that the flow of water over the earth is influenced by gravity, the moon, sun, salinity, earth movements etc. We are told that based on these influences, water will follow the path of least resistance. And hence, flow downwards within a system. For me, that speaks mind-blowing volumes of acceptance. We seem, here, to have a picture of simple waters just being a team player in the flow of life and the universe, at best. At worst; a mere flunky. But what this hard-sell, instant gratification, total dominance, microwave era (and that includes me for sure) doesn’t always understand is that the path of least resistance is still, in principle, a movement forward. And it still gets to where it should be. High and low ground is covered.
Not all downwards movement is bad (and I know, from cycling, this can actually be the best thing). Over the thousands, perhaps millions of years, water has been flowing over all the earth, can we say that this system hasn’t ‘worked’? Or that this path of least resistance has not allowed for the seasons, sustenance and migration of the life that flourishes in the water? Can we honestly say that this natural path of water has caused more harm to the earth and life than human action? And how much of this natural damage is actually ‘damage’ in terms of the grand scheme of life? Who knows this?
We humans have power. We have ideas, dreams, the ‘5 year plan’. We don’t have wings, and yet, we fly. In the winter, we build fires. We build a dam to control the flow of water for electricity and water storage. Faith, art and science, show me that we have the power of creation and creativity at work within us, and hence, unbelievable powers over nature.
Yet at various times, we must remember that we cannot and should not always fight the powers that be or try to dominate. We should remember that we are still part of this whole big dance of existence and sometimes a wave (literal and metaphoric) doesn’t just wipe you out, but perhaps it pushes you along. Perhaps it gives you a chance to experience the power of what you are working with. Gives you a chance to stop and take a break or even start a new project – to pay for a new surfboard – which led you to meet the irreplaceable Person A. Some may rather have cash or the surfing medal but to those whose values are more expansive, then the former scenario would make sense and have great potential. I don’t surf so I don’t know why that example came to mind first. Oh, proably because we’re thinking on and talking of water. Right.
Of course, like with everything in life, we realise that there is a time and place for everything. Discerning this is also a big part of the journey of life. If you position yourself right, you will mostly know. and even if you don’t, you will get there by trial and error (as opposed to my old friend ‘analysis paralysis’ and good old Mr KickingAgainstThePricks). On a day like yesterday, my birthday, my reflections where underscored by acceptance and faith in my steps being ordered by a big and good plan. That fills me with immense gratitude. I have much more peace of mind to be in and deal with the now with a clearer head, whether it is just following the path of least resistance or when pressing on ahead, against the tide.
Hence I wish you too much peace and acceptance. Now that’s what I would call ‘Big Life’.